Of all the ways we have to mark the body in our wide-ranging western cultures, scarification has a few people quite shocked, and understandably so. Pictures of flesh chiseled off the body would have anyone thinking of what they had for breakfast. But, as you can tell from the images below, the results can be quite striking.

Bamboo back scarification design

Bamboo back scarification design

Flower scarification design

Flower scarification design

Scarification is either cutting repeatedly with a scalpel or by “strike branding,” which is much like cattle branding. Apparently, over the last ten years or so, scarification has become remarkably widespread in the U.S. and Australia and across Europe, from London to Prague (Pitts, Victoria. 2003. In the Flesh, The Cultural Politics of Body Modification).

The resulting scar heals slowly, and with more potential aftercare issues than with tattooing. With some of the detail being lost during healing, it can be a pain, pardon the pun, to look after it.

Tribal Scars

Tribal Scars

Torso scarification design

Torso scarification design

Elephant scarification design

Elephant scarification design

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